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Shahzad Alam

Program Coordinator, New Era Teacher Training Centre

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Schooling must develop in the students the capabilities required for being engaged in a life-long process of learning.

We are at a very critical juncture in history. We have resources available to us unimaginable in the past- financial resources, knowledge, technology, human resources, wealth of experience etc. We are also facing crisis very unique to our age. Everything we thought we knew about ourselves and our universe is constantly evolving and/or changing.

The most important role schools can play now is to prepare individuals who know how to learn and who take ownership of their own learning and development of the society around them. The schools themselves need to be in the process of constant learning and they also need to learn to create environment where individuals can learn to learn- both individually and collectively.

The question to ask ourselves are: what changes are required in the structure of schools? How can schools start focusing more on capacity building rather than information accumulation? What kind of environment encourages ownership in learning? How can schools be themselves involved in learning?

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  • Nov 17 2013: Shahzad,

    In one of your comments you mentioned competition. You always compete with yourself but use others for an external ruler. That is why you want to be with other students as good or better than you to let you push yourself. I went through grades 1-12 with roughly 35 friends, one won the Science search (then called the Westinghouse) for the entire Nation. The college I went to in its entire history, there were 32 with 4.0 at graduation, 33rd was in my class and in the same major. Same thing happened in grad school.

    My father said three things to me
    1. do your best
    2. always know that there is always someone better
    3. never give up.
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      Nov 17 2013: It is very important to vie with oneself and become better today than I was yesterday and to understand more (depth and breadth of learning) today than I did before. We learn together with others- learn from them as well as contribute to their learning. Striving to help others advance is an inseparable aspect of advancing oneself. It is in this sense that I think competition ie becoming better than others, does not contribute to learning.

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